Settlement Is Reached in the Case of the Missing Scholarship Money

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By Mary Lynch

A settlement has been reached in a long running case that set Forever 21 and Arroyo Vista Family Health Foundation against the Lincoln Heights Chamber of Commerce (COC).

The case involved donations made in 2011-2013 by Forever 21 and the Arroyo Vista foundation to a scholarship fund established by the Lincoln Heights COC. The money raised, about $30,000 in all, was supposed to go to college-bound students from Abraham Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, but as far as everyone could tell, no scholarships were ever awarded. In March 2017, Forever 21 and the Arroyo Vista foundation sued the Lincoln Heights COC over the missing funds, alleging breach of contract, fraud and other claims. Scott Hampton, the General Counsel for Forever 21, told the Boulevard Sentinel that the matter resolved earlier this year, but that the terms of the settlement are confidential.

On May 29, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced that Forever 21 and Arroyo Vista had made a direct scholarship donation of $45,000 to nine college-bound students in the Lincoln High Class of 2019, with each student receiving $5,000. “Making scholarship donations to the deserving students in our neighborhood was always our intent,” said Hampton.

Rose Ann Ruiz, the principal at Lincoln High, helped to select the scholarship recipients based on the criteria of high academics, community service, financial need and admission to a four-year university. “The giving of these scholarships by Forever 21 and Arroyo Vista Family Health Foundation is the epitome of giving back to the community,” said Ruiz. “I feel so fortunate and so proud that there are people who help these students who have studied so hard get to college.”